In 2024, WBENC continues its inspiring tradition by celebrating the WBE Stars for their remarkable achievements, contributing invaluable leadership, innovation, and influence on the dynamic business landscape. Each handpicked by one of the 14 Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs), these women serve as a wellspring of inspiration for others within their communities. The recognition they receive through the WBE Star Award is a powerful testament to the profound impact they’ve made in their respective business environments.

The 2024 WBE Stars received their accolades at the vibrant WBENC National Conference, a grand event held from March 19-22, 2024, in Denver, Colorado. This conference was a hub of innovation and networking, drawing nearly 5,000 entrepreneurs and business leaders who celebrated the accomplishments of these extraordinary women.

But the celebration doesn’t end there. Throughout 2024, WBENC will continue to spotlight these trailblazing women in various dynamic formats, including an engaging article series and captivating feature articles in WE USA Magazine this summer. Prepare to be inspired!

Meet Gwen Hale, President and CEO of Reagan Mechanical, with the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council (GLWBC) Regional Partner Organization. Prior to assuming the helm at Reagan Mechanical, Gwen served as Vice-President of Hale Contracting responsible for operations and management of construction. With more than twenty-five years in the construction industry, Gwen’s versatile background has allowed her to work successfully in all facets of field and office operations, including estimating, field supervision, project management, and business development.

Gwen’s leadership has contributed to the successful completion of numerous diverse commercial, industrial and automotive projects, together with joint venture and program management projects, which include professional sports arenas, airports, education facilities, healthcare and industrial facilities.

Get inspired by Gwen and stay tuned for our 2024 WBENC Stars article series throughout 2024!

Reagan Mechanical LLC is an HVAC Service and Mechanical company. They focus on piping fabrication, plumbing and sheetmetal. Appointed to the Board of Professional Engineers by Former Governor John Engler, Gwen served from 2002 – 2008. The Board is responsible for establishing requirements for the registration of persons practicing engineering, as well as orders, rules, and regulations that specify standards of professional conduct. The Board also provides penalties when standards are not met.

A key challenge she sees in her industry is the loss of craftsmanship. Skilled technicians are retiring and there is a limitation of talent and experience in key areas such as pipefitters and plumbers. It is essential for her to prioritize the development of these sectors within her industry and be intentional to increase recruitment, mentorship, and education.

The 2024 theme is AMPLIFY. What does AMPLIFY mean to you?

“The AMPLIFY theme serves as a rallying cry and call to action for women entrepreneurs to create, connect and collaborate. AMPLFY articulates the rising of women in all industry sectors to raise their voices and increase the awareness and opportunity for women entrepreneurs to step into the professional purpose and raise to their next level to industry impact.”

Wisdom from WBE Star, Gwen Hale
When and how was your business started?

Reagan Mechanical was established in 2015 as a women-owned, minority-owned Michigan based business. Reagan Mechanical evolved out of Hale Contracting, Inc., established in 1997. In my role as co-owner of Hale Contracting, I saw a need to further my impact in this industry by launching Reagan Mechanical.

What is one way you recommend people to “AMPLIFY” the impact of the WBENC network in the next 2 years?

One way people can AMPLIFY their impact of the WBENC network in the next 2 years is through connection. When we utilize the opportunities and resources the WBENC offers we expand our connections and build relationships that matter for our businesses and for the customers we serve. We are able to drive the business further and potentially expand the services available to our customers, directly and indirectly. We also establish greater learning opportunities from these relationships and connections that we make from other in business who have experiences that come with best practices and lessons learned.

How are you planning to AMPLIFY the mission of the WBENC network during your time as a WBE Star?

Mentorship and sponsorship matter in business, it always has. I plan to show up as a resource and a mentor for women entrepreneurs particularly. I believe that the experiences I have had as a business owner for that last 25 years, and as a Black woman in an industry dominated by white males has allowed me to have a unique understanding and perspective that can make a difference and can be an asset to entrepreneurs regardless of how long they have been in business. As I continue to learn from the mentors in my life. I hope to impart that knowledge and share the resources that I have acquired.

Provide an example of how innovation helped you overcome a challenge, pivot, or adapt your business.

Technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has influenced design that have been beneficial in my business. The global pandemic required the world to pivot in every way and it required us to depend on technology differently from how we have meetings to how we design the work that we do. Technology allowed Regan Mechanical to pivot, stay relevant and to sharpen our ability to do business.

What areas of innovation do you foresee for women entrepreneurs over the next few years?

Within the construction industry, there are three areas of innovation that I foresee for women entrepreneurs: Project Management, Engineers, and Design. These areas currently dominated by men are core areas in the construction industry where women could make a powerful impact and innovate in ways what makes the business of doing business better.

What have you learned about yourself as a leader from mentoring or coaching others?

I have learned there is more to learn, thus as a mentor and coach. I am keenly aware that I am learning as much if not more than I am sharing. Business, if successful, is not stagnant, but always evolving, so I find myself learning and growing from both my mentors and mentees.

What do you view as benefits of being part of the WBENC network?

The benefits of being a part of WBNEC network are numerous and include helping other women-based businesses and mentoring upcoming WBE’s connecting and networking to open doors for opportunities for contracts and obtaining those contracts.

How has engaging in the WBENC Network as a Certified WBE helped your company?

Engaging the WBENC Network as a Certified WBE has helped in all of the ways previously mentioned. Mentorship, resources, support, training, and networking, just to name a few.

What suggestions would you like to share with a newly certified WBE who is looking to get involved in the WBENC community?

The resources I recommend that have been helpful on my journey are seminars, conferences, and as much professional training as possible. WBENC is a perfect resource for these.

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